Beem Baby Comes Before PGA

RSS

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Rich Beem is anticipating the birth of his first child, which might pose a conflict when it comes time to defend his PGA Championship title in August.
 
'There will be no decision making,' Beem said Monday. 'I've already made up my mind that I'll leave as soon as everything is ready to go.'
 
Beem, who won last year's major at Hazeltine, made his comments after playing a round during a media day at Rochester's Oak Hill Country Club, which will host the 85th PGA Championship, Aug. 11-17.
 
Looking to his wife, Sara, who attended the post-round press conference, Beem added that the due date is Aug. 16, the day the third round of the tournament is scheduled to be played.
 
If the child is not born by then, Beem said he will wear a pager in the event his wife goes into labor, and join her at their home in El Paso, Texas. He added that the couple plans to attempt to induce labor prior to the tournament.
 
'Fortunately, I can play in as many PGAs as I'd like to for the rest of my life,' Beem said. 'But I'm not too sure how many more kids I'm going to have, so I'm definitely going to be home to watch the birth of my first child.'
 
Beem's potential scheduling conflict is not unprecedented.
 
Phil Mickelson's first daughter, Amanda Brynn, was born the day after he finished second to the late Payne Stewart in the 1999 U.S. Open at Pinehurst. Mickelson carried a pager with him that week, and vowed to leave the tournament at any time if his wife, Amy, went into labor.
 
Stewart, who died before getting a chance to defend his U.S. Open title, was the last winner of a major championship not to defend it.
 
Tournament officials respect Beem's decision.
 
'In this instance, I share Rich's excitement,' said Jim Awtrey, PGA CEO. 'I appreciate Rich's feelings. I think it's special and I think it's OK.'
 
Added PGA president M.G. Orender: 'We'd love to have Rich here, but we wish Rich and Sara both a healthy, happy baby.'
 
Beem was the surprise winner of last year's final major.
 
Along with making up three strokes on final-round leader Justin Leonard, Beem held off a late charge by Tiger Woods to win the event at 10-under-par 278, one better than Woods.
 
Beem has endured an up and down season so far this year. He's 81st on the PGA Tour money list and stands 28th in the world rankings.
 
Of the 17 events he's competed in, Beem has missed the cut eight times, including the U.S. Open. His best finish was a tie for 10th at the Nissan Open in February.
 
'I've always been labeled as a streaky player, which is fine by me,' Beem said. 'I've also been labeled as a one-hit wonder, which is not OK with me. ... I am very streaky, but when I'm good, I'm very good.'
 
Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.